Rowan Clapp

Call: 2018

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Rowan joined Cornerstone Barristers as a tenant in October 2019. He is developing a broad practice across all areas of Chambers’ work, including public law and judicial review, planning and environmental law, housing Law, Information Law, Licensing and Commercial & Regulatory Law.

He has a degree in Philosophy and Theology from Durham University, where he graduated with the top first in his year before completing an LLM with Distinction at University College London.

Rowan joined Chambers in October 2019 after completing pupillage under the supervision of Clare Parry, Estelle Dehon and Andy Lane. He is now developing a broad practice in all Chambers’ practice areas. He advises, drafts and regularly appears in both the civil and criminal courts instructed by a range of clients, both public and private.

Court work has seen judges commend Rowan on his “impressive” and “able” submissions, remarking on his “diligent preparation” and “sensitivity” in separate complex matters. He is recognised by clients as being a “pleasure to work with,” recently achieving “exactly the result our client was hoping for, and certainly more than I expected.”

Before being called to the Bar, Rowan worked as part of a small team at a leading specialist commercial litigation firm handling the RBS Rights Issue case. This gave him valuable experience of litigation strategy which informs all aspects of his work.

Rowan has a degree in Philosophy and Theology from Durham University, where he graduated with the top first in his year. He then studied the GDL at BPP University as a Lord Haldane scholar, completed an LLM with Distinction from University College London, and read for the Bar at the University of Law as a Tancred Scholar and Residential Scholar of Lincoln’s Inn. He was awarded the Walter Wigglesworth scholarship for pupillage.

During his studies, Rowan worked in the Abuses in Counterterrorism department at Reprieve where he co-authored ‘Do We Not Bleed’, an advocacy document on drone warfare in Northern Pakistan and also volunteered as an anti-trafficking researcher for Kalayaan, a charity focussing on the rights of Overseas Domestic workers. He was also the Editor of the Public Law & Human Rights section of a major online legal journal.

Expertise

  • Public Law and Judicial Review

    Rowan is developing a varied public law practice.

    Rowan’s recent experience includes:

    • Appearing, led by Estelle Dehon, in R(Wingfield) v Canterbury City Council [2020] EWCA Civ 1588, where the Court of Appeal considered the purpose and parameters of CPR r.52.30, which contains the test for when a finally determined appeal may be re-opened by the Court. The underlying issues in the appeal involved complex consideration of Habitats Regulations Assessments and Environmental Impact Assessments in the context of multi-stage planning permissions in sensitive landscape areas and the application of the ‘acte clair’ doctrine within domestic jurisprudence.
    • Representing the successful Claimant in a judicial review of a Local Authority’s decision to grant planning permission for the change of use of woodland for the siting of 19 static holiday caravans within an AONB.
    • Advising Extinction Rebellion in relation to the ‘Autumn Uprising’ after which the decision of the Metropolitan Police to ban the protests was declared unlawful (see R(Jones) v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2019] EWHC 2957 (Admin)).
    • Acting for a successful local authority in a s.204 homelessness appeal relating to the applicant’s eligibility, involving claims of human trafficking.
    • Assisting Estelle Dehon in two judicial review claims before the Court of Appeal (R(Oyston Estates Ltd) v Fylde BC [2019] EWCA 1152 and R(Squire) v Shropshire Council [2019] EWCA Civ 288), and providing advice to a local authority on the prospects of a potential appeal against an application for large scale industrial development.
    • Assisting Richard Ground QC in a judicial review regarding the impact of a development on child rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
    • Assisting Philip Kolvin QC in a claim for judicial review of an authority’s decision to seize an animal kept contrary to the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976.
  • Planning and Environment

    Rowan provides advice and representation on all aspects of planning and environmental law.

    Recent instructions include:

    • Appearing, unled, at a four-day planning hearing concerning a large industrial development in East Sussex following the refusal of reserved matters by the Local Authority.
    • Representing the successful Local Authority in a challenge against the content of a notice issued under s.215 TCPA 1990.
    • Representing the successful Claimant in a judicial review of a Local Authority’s decision to grant planning permission for the change of use of woodland for the siting of 19 static holiday caravans within an AONB.
    • Representing the successful Local Authority at a recent enforcement inquiry concerning material change of use and the relevant time limits for enforcement. The instructing Team Leader of the Local Authority Planning Appeals and Enforcement department remarked on Rowan’s “impressive performance.”
    • Appearing, led by Estelle Dehon, in R(Wingfield) v Canterbury City Council [2020] EWCA Civ 1588, two joined judicial review claims concerning the lawfulness of a Local Authority’s approach to Environmental Impact Assessments and Habitats Regulations Assessments in the context of multi-stage planning permissions adjacent to an area of Special Scientific Interest.
    • Appearing, led by Jonathan Clay, in a judicial review of a Local Authority’s decision to discharge conditions of a planning permission concerning landscaping within an AONB.
    • Representing Local Authorities in a variety of prosecutions under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and related legislation, including appearances in both the Magistrates’ and Crown Courts.
    • Rowan recently advised Extinction Rebellion in relation to the ‘Autumn Uprising’ after which the decision of the Metropolitan Police to ban the protests was declared unlawful (see R(Jones) v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2019] EWHC 2957 (Admin))

    While a pupil, Rowan gained experience of a range of planning matters, including:

    • Providing written advice on planning issues, including: the proper construction of particular sections of the NPPF, Certificates of Lawfulness and the correct implementation period for planning permissions, material change of use and the construction of ancillary buildings, the reasonableness of proposed s.106 obligations, potential procedural unfairness arising from the consultation process for producing a Neighbourhood Development Plan, costs protection under the Aarhus Convention, the interaction between Habitats Regulations/Environmental Impact Assessments and outline permissions, the prospects of a potential judicial review in relation to the environmental impacts of a large industrial development, and the meaning of ‘operational development’ under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
    • Assisting Estelle Dehon in relation to two matters before the Court of Appeal (R(Oyston Estates Ltd) v Fylde BC [2019] EWCA 1152 and R(Squire) v Shropshire Council [2019] EWCA Civ 288.
    • Assisting Clare Parry in CPRE Surrey & POW Campaign v Waverley BC [2018] EWHC 2969.
    • Assisting Richard Ground QC in Lakenheath Parish Council v Suffolk Parish Council [2019] EWHC 978 (Admin)

    Inquiry experience

    • Four-day Planning Hearing concerning joined appeals concerning the approval of reserved matters and non-determination of conditions (unled)
    • Enforcement inquiry concerning the material change of use of land from recreational use to residential use by the occupation of caravans.
    • A week-long inquiry regarding permission for 96 dwellings and associated works in Farnham, Surrey (with Clare Parry)
    • A week-long inquiry regarding permission for an extra care development of 79 dwellings in West Malling, Kent (with Asitha Ranatunga),
    • A week-long inquiry regarding shale gas exploration at Ellesmere Port, Chester (with Estelle Dehon)
  • Licensing

    Rowan welcomes instructions in all areas of licensing law. Most recently he appeared for the successful Local Authority in an appeal against a decision to suspend a combined Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver’s License.

    During pupillage Rowan assisted Asitha Ranatunga who was instructed by Haringey Council in relation to the premises licence for Wireless Festival.

  • Information Law

    Rowan welcomes instructions in all areas of information law.

    Recent work includes:

    • Representing the owner of a successful business in a claim against a competitor regarding an erasure refusal.
    • Providing detailed advice on the prospects of success of claims under the GDPR/DPA 2018.
    • Representing the claimants in a claim against a Local Authority in which a high volume of extremely sensitive information had been inadvertently disclosed in the course of family law proceedings.

    During pupillage Rowan assisted Richard Ground QC in relation to an authority’s refusal to provide environmental information under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, and also assisted Estelle Dehon by providing advice on whether information should be disclosed by an authority under the same.

    Rowan recently published an article regarding the Information Commissioner’s guidance on the use of live facial recognition technology by law enforcement agencies following the decision of the court in R(Bridges) v The Chief Constable of South Wales Police [2019] EWHC.

  • Housing

    Rowan regularly appears for landlords (and has also represented tenants) in a range of housing matters. He regularly drafts statements of case, provides advice and appears in the County Court in possession claims and homelessness appeals. He has particular experience of the Human Rights Act 1998, Equality Act 2010 and disrepair issues in this context.

    Rowan recently represented the successful Local Authority (led by Catherine Rowlands) in McMahon v Watford Borough Council [2020] EWCA Civ 497, in which the Court of Appeal considered the test for priority need arising from vulnerability under s.189(1)(c) of the Housing Act 1996, and the scope of the Public Sector Equality Duty under s.149 of the Equality Act 2010.

    Rowan has assisted Andy Lane in a number of successful s.204 Homelessness appeals and also assisted Dean Underwood in Adesotu v Lewisham LBC [2019] EWCA Civ 1405.

    Other recent work includes representing the successful authority in a s.204 Homelessness appeal involving a potential victim of human trafficking, the preparation of a further s.204 relating to the priority need of the applicant and preparing providing advice to a local authority regarding the lawfulness of their Council Tax Support scheme.

  • Commercial and Regulatory

    Recent experience includes a dispute in relation to the complex ownership structure of a commercial property and an action arising from poorly performed works under a construction contract. He is currently instructed in multi-million pound dispute arising from the terms of a partnership agreement governing the management of a property business.

    During pupillage, Rowan assisted Lisa Busch QC in a telecommunications contract dispute and also drafted statements of case for the Claimant in relation to the mis-selling of a timeshare contracts.

    Working in a small team at a leading specialist commercial litigation firm handling the RBS Rights Issue case provided Rowan with valuable experience of litigation strategy and a pragmatic understanding of legal professional privilege. Rowan is keen to develop further experience in commercial matters.

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